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Why Is the Coffee Made in a Coffee Pot So Bitter?


Even if you have been making Turkish coffee for a long time, you must have encountered this unpleasant situation at least once. So why is the coffee made in the cezve bitter?

Pure Arabica is better than a blend of Arabica and Robusta.

A science moment. The main cause of bitterness in grain is chlorogenic acid, which is part of its chemical composition. This is an ester of caffeic acid that degrades to the appropriate caffeic and quinic during processing. This reaction also releases esters called lactones, which are then converted to phenylindanes, which gives coffee its bitter taste.

Meanwhile, Canadian scientists who discovered these substances claim that bitter coffee is beneficial in the prevention of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. But what is important for us is that the more chlorogenic acid and its components, the harder and more bitter the coffee is.

The result: Pure Arabica beans (which are traditionally sour) have less chlorogenic acid than bitter robusta or blends of Arabica and Robusta. This means there will be less bitterness in coffee brewed from Arabica.


Light or medium roasting is the best option.

The next important factor affecting the bitterness of coffee is the degree of roasting. And here we are back to chlorogenic acid. The stronger the coffee is roasted, the higher the percentage of it turning into a more burning and bitter cinchona.

During the Maillard reaction (the chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that occurs when heated), melanoidins are formed - those responsible for the golden crunch on fried meat or bread. They also impart a bitter taste to food. The darker the roast, the more melanoidin in the bean and the more bitter the coffee.

Conclusion: If you don't like bitterness in coffee, choose light or medium roast Arabica, not just Arabica.


Lightly Cook the Coffee!

It has been said many times that the coffee in the coffee pot should not be boiled. After boiling, the coffee not only acquires a characteristic unpleasant bitterness, but also loses most of the aroma substances for which it is valuable.

Moreover, you cannot boil the coffee 3 times, as coffee lovers sometimes do. Triple over-extraction can turn even the most expensive elite light roasted Arabica bitter and flat.

Foam is important!

Let's get to the theory. The coffee in a coffee pot actually consists of three layers: at the bottom there is a thick layer of ground coffee grains, in the middle is a solution from which the aroma substances are extracted, and at the top, at the neck of the pot, a mixture of essential oils, carbon dioxide, coffee particles and water forms, called foam. It is the foam that prevents aromatic substances from "escaping" into the air. If the cream spoils (for example, because you decided to stir the coffee during brewing), the flavor and aroma volatiles leave the drink, while the heavier lactones and phenylinds remain, which give bitterness.


Experienced true coffee lovers advise not to pour water all the way into the coffee pot, leaving room for a little (just a little!) foam. If there is too much free space, the foam will begin to burn. This will add bitterness to the finished drink.

Result: You can only stir the coffee once after filling it with water. It is not recommended to touch the foam.

Salt or milk grain - as solution

What if the coffee is already bitter and there is no time to prepare another serving? Experts recommend adding a few drops of regular table salt. It interacts with the tannins released into the beverage, making the coffee slightly less bitter and more drinkable. Milk or cream can also neutralize the pain.




Is bitterness always bad?

Bitterness is a natural part of the taste of coffee. It helps to balance excessive acidity or, conversely, sweetness. It is thanks to the "good" bitterness that comes from the characteristics of the grain that coffee acquires such a rich and recognizable taste.

"Bad" bitterness is mostly caused by over-roasted beans and over-extraction during brewing, making coffee taste flat and empty.

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